Can you believe that I got stuck with a family that expects dinner every night? And worse, they want it at a decent time every day too! I know right? They must be nuts. I must be even crazier since I agree to their terms. This can get a little tough since making a decent dinner can take up to an hour some days. Here is where my crock-pot comes in!
Just like any family, our lives can get a little crazy some days. We have work, doctor appointments, play dates, library days, grocery shopping, and sometimes even like to spend some time together. To add to the insanity we also have to find time to spend almost an hour to make a meal each day. Thank the heavens for daily schedules! Click here for your free printable daily/weekly schedule
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Crock-pot As My Way Out
I love food and I do enjoy cooking. But, as the weather gets warmer here in Minnesota, it seems that we get busier and our to-do list starts to grow. We also like to get outside and do more stuff since the summer air doesn’t burn our faces like winter air does. (No, really) Less time seems to be available to make a fantastic dinner these days.
This is where I found the crock-pot to be outrageously great for our family. I start the day as usual and make breakfast. While that is cooking, I start prepping for dinner. I’m already cooking so why not get it all done at once. Depending on what’s going in the pot that day I may start it up as soon as breakfast is over. I turn the knob to low and wait 8-10 hours and dinner is made.
Can life really get an easier than that?
I can leave the house with my kid while dinner is cooking. I don’t have to rush home to make food. There is no skipping a fun date or not going to that shoe sale because I have to feed my people. It is already done!
Need a new crock-pot? Never had one? Click HERE to find a great one that I love. It’s a 6 quart which is a great size for a family. It is stainless steel and has a digital timer. If you have ever used a crock-pot you know that you NEED to have the digital times. Makes the world of difference. Especially when you use it when you’re gone. And for you lovely ladies with extra pizzazz it comes in a pretty purple color too!
Now, I must admit that I do sometimes do extra things. Tonight for example, I am making Asian steak and asparagus. My steak and sauce is cooking in the pot, but I will make my asparagus separate. No real reason for this other than I love my veggie steamer. I can add different flavors to my veggies and have them done at the same time. I could very easily have put them in the pot as well, but I really like how my steamer cooks the asparagus perfectly.
(If you cook a lot of veggies I highly recommend getting a steamer. My veggies have turned out perfect every time, and it is way more low maintenance than cooking them in a pan. No burning, no mess, just ease! Here is a link to the one we have!)
Instant potatoes are not really jam. I love the taste of real potatoes and they are so easy to cook in the crock-pot as well. Depending on what I am cooking, I will throw them in with what I am making. If that doesn’t work out for space issues, I will put them in a second crockpot (yes, I have multiples) so I don’t have to worry about those either.
Can’t forget about lunches! Man. So lunches are easily made in a crockpot too. Again, I have made potatoes this way which is a very easy way to get them done if I am making a potato salad. My other favorite lunch to make is chicken salad. Especially in the summer! Canned chicken is definitely an option on a day that I am crunched for time or totally forget about lunch all together. However, the fresh chicken and the options of spices that I can put in to flavor it up is AMAZING! So much better than canned.
I don’t even thaw my chicken. We go through so much of it in the house, I haven’t found an affordable way to buy fresh chicken. I buy the big frozen bags. On the days that they go in the crockpot alone, I don’t even thaw them out. I put them in with some seasonings and that is is. How horrible of me. Careful though, if you are making something that needs a gravy or sauce, the liquid from them thawing out can really screw up a recipe. Just be aware of that.
I am not good at coming up with new recipes, actually I find about 90% of mine on Pinterest. Pinterest has so many great ideas, I have lists going for days! I will link a few of my favorite recipes below. Watch them closely, some of them are not for crock-pots exclusively. But, look how I made my chicken salad. That’s not a crock-pot meal either and I found a way.
One Pot Lasagna Soup This is one that is not a crock-pot meal, but if you get creative it works. Either way, less dishes and it’s amazing
Seriously, there are so many ways to ease your life with a crock-pot. You aren’t wasting your time cooking for an hour, it doesn’t heat up your entire house in the summer, and best of all, you can leave the house while dinner is cooking! I hope I don’t sound like a total fool making an entire post about a crock-pot. But, as a busy mom, anything to shave off extra time here and there is a good thing. Even though I may be the crazy crock-pot lady, listen to me and give it a try. These recipes I have listed are amazing! I make these ones all the time! You will see that once you get the hang of it, you will love it forever.
Do you use a crockpot? What are some of your favorite recipes??